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"There must be some way out of here": Stuck in an American Nightmare

26.06.2018 18:00

Guest lecture Prof. Lawrence Grossberg

Tuesday, June 26, 18:00

University of Applied Arts (Die Angewandte), HS 1 (ground floor) Stubenring 3, 1010 Vienna 


Abstract:
 

These are hard times for many people in many places and positions—politically, intellectually, and emotionally. And things do not look to be getting better soon. The contemporary context, especially in the USA, poses some very real challenges to intellectuals who believe that good ideas and knowledge are supposed to make a difference.  In this paper, I tell a small story about the crisis of a political intellectual (pessimism of the will as it were). I have recently offered an account of the rise of a reactionary right (and the failure of the left to stop it) in the USA. After briefly recalling my argument, I will talk about the limits of my analysis—and of the terms within which it allows oppositional politics to be imagined.  How do we offer better stories of what’s going on, stories that reaffirm that other futures are possible?  We have to understand how the popular success of these movements has been produced, without giving up on the commitments that we have held for decades.  Political change will require a new optimism of the intellect. 

Lawrence Grossberg is the Morris Davis Distinguished Professor of Communication and Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.  He has published ten books and edited another eleven, over 200 essays and dozens of interviews.  His work has been translated in eighteen languages.  His most recent books are We All Want to Change the World (available free online) and Under the Cover of Chaos.  He has edited the journal Cultural Studies for almost thirty years. 

His work brings together his passions for politics and the popular, always framed by an assumption that good ideas and better knowledge matter.  He has researched, thought and written about a wide range of topics, from rock music and youth culture to modernities, from political economy to contemporary theory, and from left countercultures to right hegemonies.  All of his work expresses a commitment to the practice of cultural studies, an analysis grounded in contingency, complexity and contextuality, with a good dose of humility.  


In cooperation with the University of Applied Arts (Prof. Roman Horak), the Department of English and American Studies (Prof. Alexandra Ganser, Mag. Barbara Maly-Bowie), Research platform Mobile Cultures and Societies, The Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW DOC-team Articulating Mobilisation)

Invitation (PDF)